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Central Australia

The Pitjantjatjara Shorter Bible, ‘Tjukurpa Palya’ was completed in 2001, and was dedicated at Easter in 2002.  This volume contains the whole New Testament, and about 15% of the Old Testament.  750 books were printed in 2002, and during the intervening 9 years there have been two more reprints of 500, and 700. Tjukurpa Palya is being well used by the Pitjantjatjara people, a group of around 3,000.  It is used extensively in church services and other Christian gatherings, as well as by individual Christians at home and in Bible studies.

Aṉangu Christians are embarking on an ambitious project to complete the translation of the Old Testament into Pitjantjatjara.  Men and women from around the communities in the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands are attending workshops and drafting sections of the Old Testament.  Many translators are ‘next generation’ Aṉangu, children of those who were involved in the translation of the New Testament.  Having been schooled in the heyday of the bilingual program, they are all very literate in their own language and readers of Tjukurpa Palya.  Though they are, on the whole, more bilingual than the previous generation they feel very strongly about translation.  Makinti says, “We need to have all of God’s Word in our language, so that we can all understand it well.”

Experienced translators and checkers from the Shorter Bible translation team are delighted to see their children take on the task and want to support and mentor them.  ‘Teamwork’ is the catchphrase, and people are forming themselves into teams to do the work.  Coordinate and our partners, Bible Society and AuSIL, are putting in place an ongoing support structure to provide these teams with the training and mentoring that will sustain a long term project.  It is hard to know how long it will take, but we’re thinking 15 years to complete the Pitjantjatjara Old Testament.